Politics Straight, No Chaser
Biden’s fervor prompts Obama rebound
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 21:10
The vice presidential debate on Thursday was quite the spectacle as Vice President and university alumnus Joe Biden took on Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan. After a disappointing performance from President Barack Obama in the first presidential debate, Biden attempted to make up for lost ground with an aggressive and “no-nonsense” approach. He was on the attack almost immediately, criticizing Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney’s desire to prolong the unpopular war in Iraq.
Minutes later, after receiving criticism from Ryan, Biden would state that “not a single thing he [Ryan] said was accurate” and that it was “a bunch of stuff.” He interjected frequently during Ryan’s turns to speak and at one point when Ryan mentioned former President John F. Kennedy’s tax polices, Biden fired back, “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?” Biden’s relentless and assertive tone was a sharp contrast to Obama’s reserve, but it received mixed feedback.
“I think Joe Biden is an authentic person. He speaks his mind,” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said. “People know him. They expect that.”
Similarly, CNN chief national correspondent John King said, “The vice president came and showed fight. He showed his boss what it is to engage and attack.”
Republicans did not view Biden’s zeal quite as favorably. The conservative group “Campaign to Defeat Obama” called Biden’s dismissive laughs, eye-rolling and interruptions “rude and arrogant.” Republican strategist Karen Hanretty likened Biden to a crazy uncle speaking his mind at Thanksgiving dinner.
Despite the differing perspectives, Biden energized the Democratic base and gave the strong performance that was needed of him.
Biden confronted Ryan on some of the controversial claims made by Romney that Obama failed to contest in the last debate. He argued the Romney-Ryan tax plan was “not mathematically possible” and doubted they would close the tax loopholes necessary to make their plan viable. Biden also brought attention back to the controversial “47 percent” video, where Romney dismissed nearly half of the nation as irresponsible and “dependent” on government, continuing the effort to depict Romney as an out-of touch elitist.
“These people are my mom and dad—people I grew up with, my neighbors,” Biden said regarding the 47 percent. “They pay more effective tax than Gov. Romney pays in his federal income tax.”
Ryan defended Romney, arguing his words at the fundraiser were not expressed the way he meant them to be. In the same response, Ryan also utilized a clever dig against the gaffe-prone Biden with the biggest laugh-line of the night stated, “I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”
These memorable quotes from the debate illustrate that although most news sources and pundits were talking about Biden after the debate, Ryan also had an impressive performance and depicted his knowledge of a variety of topics.
Ryan castigated Biden and the Obama administration on foreign policy, especially in regard to the attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead. He insisted that the Obama administration misled the American public about knowing that this was a planned act of terror as opposed to a spontaneous element of the protest. “Look, if we’re hit by terrorists we’re going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack,” Ryan said.
The Wisconsin native further argued that this event, along with the Obama administration’s failure to take decisive actions against Iran’s nuclear program and Syria’s current civil war, projects a sense of weakness to the rest of the world. “What we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy,” Ryan said. Biden discredited Ryan’s claims and called them “a bunch of malarkey.” He asserted the administration intends to bring justice to those responsible for the attacks in Libya and said, “Whatever mistakes were made will not be made again.”